Angela Lansbury makes a hit at Poplar Film Fest in her granddad's memory

PUBLISHED: 10:58 10 April 2014 | UPDATED: 10:58 10 April 2014

Angela Lansbury introduces Bednobs & Broomsticks

Angela Lansbury introduces Bednobs & Broomsticks


Hollywood legend Angela Lansbury came back home to London's East End at the weekend to curate the Poplar Film Fest in her famous grandfather's honour—and was mobbed by hundreds of fans.

Dame Angela curates Poplar film festivalDame Angela curates Poplar film festival

She introduced a free screening of ‘Bedknobs and Broomsticks’ in Chrisp Street Market, where she was greeted by 350 fans who gave her a standing ovation.

The star of TV’s ‘Murder She Wrote’ and many big screen films introduced her most famous role as the wartime good witch in Bednobes.

Murder She Wrote, but superstar Angela didn’t making a killing hosting the festival. She waved any fee for her appearance.

Dame Angela was invited to take part by the organisers, Poplar Harca Housing Association, when she arrived in London last month to appear on the West End stage in Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit.

Fans turn up to see Angela Lansbury at the film festivalFans turn up to see Angela Lansbury at the film festival

She selected seven of her films for the weekend festival out of the 50 she has made in her career.

They included ‘Gaslight’ in 1944, which earned her first Academy Award nomination, and ‘The Mirror Crack’d’ in 1980 playing Miss Marple alongside Elizabeth Taylor.

Then the legendary actress was whisked off to go under the spotlight at the appropriately-named Spotlight centre in Langdon Park when the 88-year-old veteran of stage and screen was interviewed live in front of an audience about her career and life by Arts Council former Chairman Sir Chris Frayling.

Dame Angela returned to her East End roots for the festival, having spent much of her childhood in Poplar where her famous granddad was mayor and later MP.

Watching one of seven Angela Lansbury films screened at Poplar Film FestWatching one of seven Angela Lansbury films screened at Poplar Film Fest

George Lansbury led the 1921 Rates Strike as Mayor of Poplar and went to prison rather than pass on the unequal London rates precept, the Poll Tax of its day, to the poor who would have to pay the same as London’s wealthy gentry. It led to a reform of the rates.

Other Poplar councillors jailed with him included Angela’s aunt Minnie Lansbury.

Her father, Edgar Lansbury, was also mayor of Poplar.

Poplar’s Lansbury Estate where the weekend festival was staged was named after George Lansbury, built as a showpiece of the 1951 Festival of Britain, an example of ‘housing for the people’ after the Second World War that he had campaigned for in the 1930s as MP and leader of the Parliamentary Labour Party.

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